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Avjar?

When I read queries in which the poster says: I bought X and I have no idea what it is or how to use it or what to do with it." I always think, that's weird, why would anyone buy anything if they don't know what it is or how to cook with it?

However, I revently did just the same thing. I saw this jar of red pasty stuff labeled Avjar. Only the ingredients are in English on a special label, but the rest of the label seem to be in an Eastern European/Balkan language. According to the label, It mostly contains roasted red peppers and vegetables. It tastes pretty good and is not vinegary. I read the wiki about it and it seems to be a Balkan chile pepper vegetable preserve.

So far I have stirred the avjar paste into two different types of soup to make the soup roasted red pepper flavored.

What else can I use this for? What are it's traditional uses?

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  1. Check your spelling - I believe it's ajvar, pronounced "eye-vahr", and if you Google it, there's lots of sites to see. I like to spread it on bread, with a turkey sandwich, instead of mayo.

    1. Its terrific as a spread on bread with some cheese, esp sheep. YOu can cook it with scrambled eggs.

      1. My SIL is from Sarajevo, and she eats a ton of this. We spreads it on pita, with olives, feta, and hot chillies on the side. It's addictive! If your brand was only "pretty good," then try others, because it varies greatly. The best ones taste heavenly!

        1. Hahaha yes it is ajvar, not ajvar.

          1. In Romania, it's mostly eaten as a spread on bread. I have some in the fridge now. It's my husband's fast food. Ha!

            1. I've put ajvar in a nice serving bowl, decorated it with a swirl of olive oil and some chopped parsley, and served it as a dip with pita chips and veggies. It's a great party food, and so much healthier than the average dip!

              1. Trader Joe's markets a "Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic," made in Bulgaria, that I've been told is actually ajvar. The label suggests using it as a dip for crudites or a sauce for grilled vegetables, adding it to pasta sauce, spreading it on chicken or turkey sandwiches, using it as a burger topping, or adding it to a stir-fry.

                1. One of my favorite ways to use ajvar is to add it to cooked white rice along with some evoo and toss it well. Makes an excellent tasting side dish, and please don't be alarmed by the color. Works perfect with contrasting colors and flavors.

                  1. luckyfatima, you can think of it like a tomato paste, thus, add it to soups (as you tried) or pasta sauces. if you sauté some with a good olive oil, use it as a dressing for some braised cabbage wedges. slather it in between lasagna or eggplant parmesan "lasagna" layers. use the olive oil-ajvar sauce, doctored with some feta cheese, to dollop over fried chicken cutlets. blend it with mayo, and use on a smoked sausage sandwich on a crusty roll, along with some julienned cabbage for crunch.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: alkapal

                      Sounds good. Everyone has such great ideas. I'll definately try it in lasagna next.

                      1. re: luckyfatima

                        anywhere you like the savory red pepper flavor, use it there. it is very flexible.

                    2. No idea how it's usually used, but I love it as a spread on breads or the moisture for sandwiches, thinnned out for dressings, or used as is as a dipping sauce. Love it, and miss it now that I'm on the east coast where I can't find it! (my old neighborhoods in Chicago had it, and I had to buy it. Sometimes I would take a spoon and scoop out a bit to eat when I was starving!)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Caralien

                        caralien, you can't find it in any local mid-east or greek food grocery?

                        1. re: alkapal

                          I saw it at the Halal meat market a few months ago, but the bottle was incredibly dusty unlike the fresh and clean jars I found everywhere on the north side of Chicago!

                          I should look a little harder, asI really have no idea where a Greek grocer would be found nearby! For all I know, Wegman's will turn out to have it. I'll look for it en route home tonight, as it truly is amazing stuff.

                      2. I like it as a dip, with chunks of pita. I think you could do a more elaborate dip with a layer of some soft white cheese (cream cheese, goat cheese, soft feta) spread with ajvar, perhaps with some toasted pine nuts sprinkled over it. You could probably also use it as a base for something resembling muhammara-- it would be easier than preparing the peppers yourself. But just by itself as a dip it's good, at least IMO.

                        BTW, in some brands it comes in both hot and mild versions.